Sydney

No matter where I go (and I have certainly been to a few places in the world in the last year or so), the place which holds a very special place in my heart is Sydney.  I wondered if the magic would still be there this year, but watching dawn break, seeing the sun come up over the Opera House and turn the Harbour Bridge to gold, I was once again totally captivated.

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The Bridge turned golden by the dawn

Saying goodbye to the floating palace which is Queen Victoria, and which had been my home for the past six weeks, mattered not a jot.  I wanted to plant my feet firmly on the quayside and once again enjoy this wonderful city.

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The city begins to wake…

Disembarkation and the transfer to my hotel were speedy and smooth and I was off like a greyhound out of the traps and back down to the harbour.  How strange was that?  After longing to get ashore, I was back on a boat again in no time, but this time it was the Ferry to Manly.  Last year I had paid it a very quick visit but had promised myself a very happy return were I to ever come back.  Manly was full of tourists heading for the beach and surfboard carrying young men and girls with just one thought – to get straight into the blue/green water and the pounding surf.  Not so dramatic as Bondi Beach but its golden sands were just as much a draw as the waves.

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Queen Victoria docked between the bridge and the Opera House
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Manly

I hadn’t come to swim this time and enjoyed a leisurely wander, stopping for a coffee in a pavement cafe along the way.  I had no need to check my watch and for the first time in weeks, I had no concern about missing the ship’s departure.  I settled at another cafe by the beach and did what most people do when they come here….I ordered fish and chips and a cold beer!  Forget the lobster, the steaks and all the fabulous food I have been served on the cruise…this was the real deal!

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Yachts galore
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Although I had been sitting in the shade, the temperature was increasing and late afternoon I reluctantly dragged myself away and bagged a seat at the top of the ferry in the breeze.  The harbour was a mass of yachting activity with some keenly fought racing going on.  Finally, I had a second chance at a sail into Sydney Harbour, which I had missed seeing in the darkness of our very early morning arrival on Queen Victoria.  It most certainly didn’t disappoint and, once again, I saw the Opera House from just about every angle.
But the clouds were gathering as we landed and with a final wave to Queen Victoria, I decided to make a quick dash to the hotel.  Not a minute too soon.  Thunder rolled, lightning flashed and the rain came down in a solid wall.  Well, Sydney, what else can you show me?  Last year when I left you we sailed into a hurricane.  Let’s hope the storm does not come back tomorrow and I can enjoy another full day taking in the sights.
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